Singapore’s insurers can help improve workplace safety

Insurers have two roles in helping meet government’s workplace safety targets, says industry leader

Singapore’s insurers can help improve workplace safety

Insurance News

By Gabriel Olano

Singaporean insurers should heed the government’s call and help ensure safer and healthier workplaces, an industry leader has said.

Following several high-profile workplace accidents in Singapore, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong announced a new target for workplace safety, mandating businesses to reduce fatalities to less than one death per 100,000 workers in the next 10 years. This means reducing the current rate of 1.9 per 100,000 by around half.

Insurers can play two distinct roles in helping Singapore reach its ambitious workplace safety goals, according to an op-ed published in Channel News Asia by Karl Hamann, chief executive of QBE Insurance Singapore.

The first role is preventive, with insurers acting as advisors to clients. Insurers can hold in-depth risk audits and analyses, with the findings allowing businesses to understand their critical exposures and gaps in workplace safety.

“Insurers can also play a rehabilitative role, in ensuring that lessons from prior incidents are internalised by the company, and propose measures to avoid a repeat,” Hamann wrote.

“Ultimately, insurers must also help drive home the importance of a proactive, high-awareness, best-practice safety culture. Insurers must be committed to raising safety standards and reducing injuries in the workplace by providing companies with access to policies that help mitigate the risks of a workplace incident.”

Insurers should hold their clients accountable, according to Hamann. They should make it clear to businesses that having insurance is not a substitute for proper safety procedures. Insurers must monitor workplace accidents, especially for businesses that have poor safety track records, in order to gain an understanding of what is going on.

“While changes to the current Workplace Safety and Health Act can shift behaviour, imposing more regulation is not the cure-all,” Hamann wrote. “Ensuring that companies, workers and insurers play their respective roles will be key.”

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